Prelate Presides Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church in Fresno – “Der Voghormya” Prayer for the Soul of Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan and Requiem for ARF Members

On March 10, 2019, the second Sunday of Great Lent, Sunday of the Expulsion, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Holy Trinity Church in Fresno.

By the ordinance of the Prelate, on this day, “Der Voghormya” prayers were offered for the soul of Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan of blessed memory, Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, who entered eternal rest on March 8. In honor of the 128th anniversary of the ARF and by the request of the ARF “Tehlirian” Gomideh, prayers were offered during requiem service at Holy Trinity Church for the repose of the souls of all departed members.

Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Ashekian. Among the faithful in attendance were “Tehlirian” Gomideh members and Sunday School students.

The Prelate delivered his sermon on the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and the subsequent fall of man, faithfulness to God and His commandments, and mindfully observing Great Lent. His Eminence noted that there are boundaries to the free will granted to us by God just as there are boundaries for the freedoms we enjoy in society, and we must be careful to stay within those boundaries. The Prelate underlined that God gave us commandments not to restrict us, but to free us from a life of sin and show us a life of true joy and peace, for the same reason that we have standards of morality and ethics in order to maintain law and order and decency. Thus, as we strive daily to remain upstanding citizens, so too we must strive daily to become upstanding children of God through our faithfulness to Him, to trust in Him and in His will at all times, said the Prelate.

Next, His Eminence spoke on making the most of the journey of Great Lent by transforming ourselves through prayer, abstinence, and good deeds to emerge as stronger and improved beings in mind, body, and spirit. Touching on the three pillars of Great Lent, the Prelate stressed the importance of prayer and reading the Bible to build a close relationship with God, abstinence from restricted foods but also from worldly pleasures, bad habits, and destructive emotions such as pride, anger, jealousy, spite, hatred, gossip to cleanse our bodies and spirits, and performing good deeds and sharing the love and mercy of our Lord with those in need to nourish our souls.

Lastly, the Prelate paid tribute to Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan of blessed memory as an eminent spiritual leader who faithfully devoted his life to the Church and led his flock with love, humility courage, conviction, and prudence. His Eminence also paid homage to departed ARF members who devoted and even sacrificed their lives for the defense of our lands, the advancement of our cause, the pursuit of our national rights, and the preservation and promotion of our national identity.

Following the service, members of the community gathered before the monument of Soghomon Tehlirian at Ararat Cemetery where the Prelate conducted a requiem prayer in memory of our national hero. In attendance were Executive Council Chair Garo Eshgian, member and Honorary Consul Berj Apkarian, ARF Central Committee Chair Dr. Carmen Ohanian and members, “Tehlirian” Gomideh members, and Homenetmen scouts.

Afterward, the Prelate attended the ARF Day celebration organized by the “Tehlirian”Gomideh which took place at “Mugrdichian” Hall of the “Garo and Alice Gureghian Armenian Cultural Center” featuring Dr. Viken Hovsepian as the keynote speaker.
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